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Biocomputers

By | March 2011
Page 1 of 3
Charles Ferringer
Professor Bowman
Sci. Honors Writing
15 November 2010
Biocomputers
Biocomputers are computational “machines” that utilize systems containing biologically derived molecules (DNA, RNA, proteins, etc.). These computers can be used for calculations that involve the storing, retrieving, and processing of data. Biocomputers are a relatively new science that uses the new, growing science known as nanobiotechnology. Nanobiotechnology is any technology using both nanoscale materials (anything 1-100 nanometers), as well as biologically based resources. With more effort and enough time, biocomputers can offer many more benefits than traditional computers (www.wikipedia.org).

The initial thought forms in most people’s minds when the word “computer” is stated, is a personal computer (a desktop computer or laptop). However, the word computer is not limited to this understanding. A computer can be any “electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations.” (http://www.dictionary.com) Therefore, the biocomputers that are being developed are not necessarily personal computers, but we could very well be discovering methods of developing personal biocomputers.

There are three main classifications of biocomputers: biochemical, bioelectric, and biomechanical computers. The biochemical computers use feedback loops (paths that lead from the primary generation of the feedback signal – information about the initial event that is the foundation for next modification of that event – to the next modification of the event) from chemical reactions in order to function computationally. In a biological system, a feedback loop can take many forms and can provide either positive or negative feedback depending on many different factors. These factors can cause either an increase or a decrease in chemical output and may be things such as the amount of...

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